The top 14 Milwaukee shows we’re most excited about seeing this fall
14. Widespread Panic (Oct. 9-10, Riverside Theater)
Okay, so you don’t like hippies or noodly guitar solos. What are your feelings on binge drinking? So you don’t mind binge drinking? Then you might want to find out for yourself why this blackout-inducing Southern rock band has packed the Riverside during multi-night stands for three years running.
13. The Felice Brothers (Oct. 14, Turner Hall)
These upstate New Yorkers have made some of our favorite Americana records of the last few years, and they’re an even bigger delight in concert, passing around a whiskey bottle as they play loose and irreverent roots music that’s not afraid to get a little dirt under the fingernails.
12. The Gaslight Anthem (Sept. 18, The Rave/Eagles Ballroom)
After playing two well-received shows in Milwaukee last year, The Gaslight Anthem returns in support of 2010’s solid American Slang. Don’t be alarmed if you’re overcome by uncontrollable fits of fist-pumping; it’s a natural reaction to this New Jersey band’s unstoppable anthems.
11. Dirty Projectors (Sept. 18, Pabst Theater)
As one of the most adventurous bands on the planet right now, Dirty Projectors tend to inspire either intense love or equally intense hatred. There’s no middle ground for this polarizing Brooklyn-based outfit or its 2009 record Bitte Orca, which placed high on The A.V. Club’s best music of 2009 list while inducing seizures in hip music clubs across the land.
10. Atmosphere (Sept. 9, Riverside Theater)
Atmosphere may be a hip-hop group, but it built its name the old-fashioned punk-rock way, with endless touring in a van, self-releasing (and self-marketing) records, and playing in grimy clubs. Well, maybe the grimy clubs part is no longer true: Atmosphere now rocks decidedly grime-free venues like the Riverside.
9. Neil Hamburger and K-Strass (Sept. 18, Cactus Club)
Incredibly, Neil Hamburger’s washed-up nightclub comedian routine hasn’t gotten old yet—probably because beneath the façade of off-putting performance tics is a sharp comic mind. Joining him on this tour is K-Strass, whose yo-yoing exploits on local TV morning shows across the Midwest have made him an Internet sensation.
8. Gayngs (Sept. 29, Turner Hall)
While we initially wondered whether Relayted, the psychedelic R&B debut from Midwest indie-rock supergroup Gayngs, would be a cringingly ironic trainwreck, we’re happy to report that it’s actually one of the standout releases in a very good year so far for music. Only about half of the group’s 24-person lineup will be touring this fall, but this should still be one of the most proudly outrageous shows of the season.
7. Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax (Oct. 16, The Rave/Eagles Ballroom)
In a most brutal and blistering partnership, Megadeth and Slayer have re-ignited their "American Carnage" tour for another round of dates this fall with fellow thrash titans Anthrax. Everybody will be in a sentimental mood this time around: Slayer will perform 1990’s Seasons In The Abyss in its entirety, Megadeth is playing the classic Rust In Peace, and Anthrax will be re-joined by “classic lineup” singer Joey Belladonna.
6. Drive-By Truckers (Oct. 1, Pabst Theater)
One of our favorite rock ’n’ roll bands on the planet right now is Drive-By Truckers, who released a string of brilliant albums in the ’00s thick with Southern noir and whiskey-drunk wisdom. This year’s The Big To-Do is another winner, and live, DBT stomps around with even greater power and volume.
5. Pavement and No Age (Sept. 14, Pabst Theater)
Reports of so-so performances have haunted Pavement in the early stages of its comeback tour, tempering the excitement we initially felt when this show was announced. That said, Pavement ought to be purring like a well-oiled, road-tested machine by the time the defining ’90s indie-rockers touch down in Milwaukee. (Though hopefully they won’t be too well-oiled.)
4. Of Montreal and Janelle Monae (Sept. 24, Pabst Theater)
Of Montreal’s forthcoming False Priest ranks among our most anticipated albums of the fall, but this show undeniably has an extra heaping of buzz thanks to support act Janelle Monae, whose genre-smashing debut The ArchAndroid takes the sexy-R&B-for-indie-nerds aesthetic that Of Montreal pioneered to the mainstream.
3. Lady Gaga (Sept. 2, Bradley Center)
It’s been pretty tough to ignore Lady Gaga for the past year, and that’s exactly how she wants it. Regardless of what you think of her pop-tart-meets-performance-art shtick—which cherry-picks from forbears like Madonna, Blondie, Bowie, and even artists like Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman—it’s undeniable that 23-year-old Stefani Germanotta is adept at turning heads. And we’re even more curious to check it out after her show-stopping performance at Lollapalooza this summer.
2. LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip (Oct. 22, The Rave/Eagles Ballroom)
If we were to make a list right now of our favorite albums of the year, LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening would be a contender for the top spot. After we’re finished dancing our butts off at this show, we have a feeling it no longer will be a competition.
1. Farm Aid (Oct. 2, Miller Park)
There’s no arguing over whether Farm Aid is the biggest single-day concert to take place in Milwaukee this year, or whether it will have the greatest positive impact on the area. But along with benefiting a worthy cause and promising a really great time at a venue that rarely hosts massive events like this, Farm Aid boasts a very impressive music lineup—including Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, Jeff Tweedy, Band Of Horses, and BoDeans— for about as much as it would normally cost to see any of the headliners on their own.